Discussion: Interview Format
During the evaluation of persons with mental health issues, psychiatric interviews come out as the most important processes. The main purpose of the initial interview is to get information that should be used to establish a diagnosis that is criteria-based (Sadock, Sadock & Ruiz, 2014). In fact, it is important to note that when an initial psychiatric interview is done in the right manner, it leads to the multidimensional understanding of the biopsychosocial elements of the diagnosis. This gives the practitioner an opportunity to work with the patient in the development of a patient-centered care (Sadock, Sadock & Ruiz, 2014). Because of this, I would not want to be limited during the initial interview with a client. I would therefore use a format that capitalizes on my strength as a practitioner and as an interviewer while also seeking to understand the patient as early as possible in order to find a way of making the initial interview as fulfilling and reproductive as possible.
This means that my interview format shall first focus on understanding the presenting problem from the client’s standpoint. Of course, this is after establishing the rules of interaction with the client such as their right to privacy and confidentiality. These are fundamental ethical considerations when interacting with any client especially in the psychiatric setting. Clients ought to be aware of these rights as well as their limitations from the onset of the relationship (Darby & Weinstock, 2018). Once the chief complaint has been described, this gives a foundation on how to proceed with the initial interview. The focus at this point shall be to get additional information about the client that will help in listing differential diagnoses and considering treatment modalities that should be used. During this interview, the patient should be given the opportunity to describe everything in detail and without being interrupted. This is where the skills of effective communication have to be optimized on. It is through effective communication that a proper client and provider relationship shall be established. Communication skills should be used to make different types of patients feel comfortable in the environment. Scholars point out that mental health professionals and persons with severe and complex mental health disorders such as schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorders among others always have challenges discussing about the symptoms, treatment, side effects as well as their shared understanding of the diagnosis and prognosis (Papageorgiou, Loke & Fromage, 2017). This is why at the very early stages of my interaction with the client, I will make sure that I identify the needs of the patient and how my communication skills should be used to ensure that the rest of the interaction with the patient leads to positive mental heath outcomes and client satisfaction.
That said, for the initial interview, the preceptor uses the same approach but there are templates which are used after the preceptor has the slightest idea about the problem that the patient might be having. For instance, if the presenting problem points towards depression, the preceptor has a template that is used for this particular patient population. This is basically using internal evidence from daily practice to inform how the initial encounter with the clients should be.
The element of my interview format that makes it arguably superior and more effective that the preceptor’s is that it does not only focus on the presenting problem but also individual attributes and characteristics of the client. It also considers the strengths of the interviewer when it comes to communication skills and these are capitalized on to guarantee the achievement of a therapeutic relationship with the client.
Darby, W. C., & Weinstock, R. (2018). The Limits of Confidentiality: Informed Consent and Psychotherapy. Focus, 16(4), 395-401.
Papageorgiou, A., Loke, Y. K., & Fromage, M. (2017). Communication skills training for mental health professionals working with people with severe mental illness. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (6)
Sadock, B. J., Sadock, V. A., & Ruiz, P. (2014). Kaplan & Sadock’s synopsis of psychiatry: Behavioral sciences/clinical psychiatry (11th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer.